Are You a Candidate for Joint Replacement?


Carl Hicks, M.D.,
Joint Reconstructive Surgeon

Joint replacement is one of the most common orthopedic surgeries performed today, with the hip and knee being the most frequently replaced joints. In fact, knee replacements have doubled in the past decade, and not just among the elderly. People age 45 to 64 were 2.5 times more likely to be hospitalized for knee replacement surgery in 2009 than in 1997. But joint replacement may not be the best solution for everyone. Many factors will determine whether trading in your aching joint for a stronger, better, faster replacement is the right step for you.

“Joint deterioration has a number of causes,” says Carl Hicks, M.D., board certified joint reconstructive surgeon with Methodist Orthopaedic Specialists of Texas (MOST). “Injuries, autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and the general wear and tear that occur over time may all take a toll on the body’s joints, causing pain and inhibiting motion.” Joint replacement surgery exchanges the worn out part with a prosthesis made of plastic, metal or a combination of both. With successful outcomes in more than 90% of cases, patients who’ve had a joint replaced may enjoy better quality of life, relief from pain, stiffness or swelling and improved range of motion. But no surgery is without risks and, although the complication rate in joint replacement is low, patients are susceptible to infection, blood clots and loosening or dislocation of the joint.

“The severity of your condition will likely be a significant factor in the decision to have joint replacement surgery,” says Dr. Hicks. “If aching and stiff joints cause constant pain, limit your ability to walk or climb stairs and affect your quality of life, you may be a likely candidate for joint replacement surgery.”

Other considerations include:

Alternatives to surgery. Depending on the cause of your joint pain, medications, physical therapy or aids such as a brace may be effective treatment options.

Your age. Little research has been done on the long-term effectiveness of joint replacement for a younger, more physically active generation. Prosthetic joints typically last only 10 to 15 years, making younger candidates more likely to need additional surgeries.

Your general health. Certain diseases, such as high blood pressure or heart and lung disease increase the risks associated with surgery. Osteoporosis and bone or joint deformity may affect joint replacement success.

Your weight. Obesity can pro-

long recovery and affect the durability of the new joint.

Whether you want to get back in the game, or simply back to your life, orthopedic specialists at the Methodist Orthopaedic Specialists of Texas can help you find the treatment option that works best for you. To learn more about joint replacement and your options, join us at our free seminar!

Free Seminar

Join us for a free Joint Replacement Seminar presented by Dr. Carl Hicks on April 25th at 6 p.m. at Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Conference Center. There will be refreshments and door prizes for attendees. Call 281-274-7500 or email to reserve a seat.